6 Ways to Stay in Touch With Your Supporters
There’s many voices out there wanting to be heard, and in a crowded non-profit market, it’s important to establish your niche, maintain communication and ensure you’re being heard.
It’s surprising how many in the non-profit sector believe that their organisation and what they are providing will ‘sell itself’; this is in reality far from the truth. These organisations are under the misguided belief that support will come to them solely as they are doing good in the community, and that people will automatically support them.
If only this were the reality, unfortunately, it’s not. It’s important for the management of any non-profitto make a point of ensuring that they are known among business and community groups, such as, associations, businesses, and individuals to ensure they remain familiar with the purpose of the nonprofit and the service it provides.
Unless your community is aware of you, are kept in touch with what you are doing; the possibility is always there for your organisation, or a specific service you provide, to simply fade away into obscurity due to lack of awareness; which equals potential financial (or other support).
It’s important to have a practical and credible identity that through your marketing will keep you visible and increase local support. Some pointers to help you with putting your strategy, message, and delivery together:
1. Know your audience
Know who it is you want to reach. Who are your donors, and focus on how to reach them.
2. Be consistent with the way you communicate
Be a year ahead with your communication planning, have plan of timelines for all communications, including; media releases, newsletters,events, and other marketing activities. Use repeat messages, and use your logo and slogans in an effective way. Having and using an effective slogans can be very effective in conveying the core of your message, in a succinct way. Have tangible goals, have individual staff, volunteers etc responsible for specific sub tasks.
3. What is your visual identity?
Have a visual identity that your community can relate to, identify with what you do, and is recognisable. Always have this on all collateral (newsletters, reports, signs, and brochures). Having a visual image (identity) will make it memorable, and it will help strengthen awareness of your organisation. Your visual identity must show that your organisation is responsible, trustworthy, and credible.
4. Use more than one tactic in your communications
Different approaches are likely to be needed depending on the type of organisation you are communicating with.
5. Use the right media for you and your message
It’s not all horses for courses; in your planning allow provision to use a combination of approaches. You will need those most suited toreaching your targeted audiences. Don’t rely on one method; use a variety of methods; e-mails, media releases, editorials, expert columns, newsletters; and don’t forget the humble phone call; often a human voice can make all the difference.
6. Tell the story of your mission
In your communications, let your supporters, donors, and community members know about your good works. In newsletters, press releases, and on your website, talk about your achievements. Spell out the ways in which donations have directly supported your mission. This will reinforce your message and help forge a stronger relationship between your target audiences and your efforts.
Plan it and make it happen
How you communicate with your community will help with understanding of what it is that you do, and will have the potential to help you generate action from potential supporters. As part of your planning it’s important to have a defined strategy that includes knowing who your intended audiences is, and that your messages are targeted to these groups. Don’t bog yourself down with additional work, use planning to help reduce the resources you may need to help meet organisational goals and objectives. It’s equally important to make sure your marketing is carried out consistently, persistently and that it is regularly revisited to make sure it still aligns with your organisation’s mission.
Through consistent communication you have the ability to raise awareness, support and money. Communicating with your local community is important; they can become the cornerstone of your support base; without effectively communicating with them it is likely you will gain minimally from them through fund raising campaigns.
The support from some of the private companies, organisations or associations will come about as a result of your on-going, overall strategy which demonstrates who financial partnerships can be formed and how they are maintained. Due to this it’s important to be able to show how your immediate local community is supporting what you’re doing, without this; it’s unlikely they will assist. These types of organisations look at how an organisation communicates the results of any fund raising efforts, and where the funds have been use; what’s and who has benefited.
Doing the above will help you develop a strong, well-known brand/image. It won’t happen overnight, building awareness of your missions, goals and vision is a gradual process.